Merry Christmas! Joe Bob Briggs, your Hollywood movie expert, and would somebody please play "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" one more time? The Mel Torme version?
Could I hear that again? They don't play that nearly enough. Okay, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito coming up in OUR version of a Christmas movie, "Twins." Followed by Sly Rocky Rambo fighting the Russkies and bringing about perestroika, in "Rocky IV."
Meanwhile, I'm gonna track down the best Christmas party in Hollywood and take you guys with me. That's the premise here. So let's start the first flick, "Twins," the story of a scientific fertility experiment some screenwriters came up with so Universal Studios could dress Conan the Barbarian and Louis DePalma in matching suits and watch people flock to the theaters in droves. Here's those drive-in totals. We have: Five dead bodies. Two breasts, both of em on Arnold. One motor-vehicle collision. Cadillac-lifting. Stunt driving. Multiple bullets to the leg. Thug smashing. Mad-scientist slugging. Death by big pile of chains. Kung fu. Ax fu. Suitcase fu. Arnold fu. Gratuitous shopping spree. Gratuitous country-western dancing. Gratuitous David Caruso. Check out what major star appears as the young mom in the first scene.
[fading] "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire . . . " When was the last time anyone roasted chestnuts? These Christmas songs ARE chestnuts. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" -- what twelve days of Christmas? That's Hanukkah. That's a Jewish thing, with the candles. What? Hanukkah's eight days. Illustrating my point exactly. "Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh . . . " They need to update these things. They need to write a song about the Reverend Al Sharpton dashing to Kwanzaa in a daishiki. "Dashing through the Bronx, in a Lincoln."
"TWINS" Commercial Break #1
Isn't Arnold adorable in this movie? The intellectual peace-nik bodybuilder with a heart of gold. Everybody says this was Arnold's first comedy, but here at "Joe Bob's Hollywood Saturday Night," we remember "Hercules Goes to New York." Also known as "Hercules Goes Bananas." Now THAT was a funny flick. Did you guys recognize Heather Graham as the cute young mom with no lines? You know, Heather lives up here in the Hollywood Hills, and I know she's having an open house tonight, [dialing phone] so I'm gonna see if I can get me an invite. Leon, it's Joe Bob . . . Your client, the guy who gives you ten percent of his income. . . Yeah, well, if you'd get me any work, then you'd get the ten percent. What happened to that Hollywood Squares thing? Never mind. Listen, have you got Heather Graham's number? There's a bunch of cars parked out in front of her house, I think she's having a few industry people over . . . There's this security guy in a zoot suit who claims he doesn't know me. Leon! Leon! Don't even bring that up. First of all, I WAS wearing a bathing suit, and Heather was out of town. Nobody knows about that except you and me--and the pool guy, of course . . . Who did you TELL, Leon? Who did you tell? You know what, forget it. I don't want to go to Heather Graham's Christmas party. Thanks a lot for your help, Leon. Merry Christmas. [hangs up]
[fading] Like I wanna sit there and chit-chat with Mike Myers for three hours. I'll just deck the halls or something. Jingle the bells. Whatever you're supposed to do.
"TWINS" Commercial Break #2
We love Arnold as the bumbling foreigner, don't we? And Danny DeVito as the short and sassy hustler -- I can never get enough of him in those kinds of roles. And just in case that's not enough, we got a couple of bimbos in tight dresses, Chloe Webb and Kelly Preston. A.k.a. Mrs. John Travolta. Not that she's just Mrs. John Travolta. She's also the former fiancee of both George Clooney and Charlie Sheen. She broke it off with Charlie after she accidentally got shot in their apartment. George got her a six-carat diamond ring, and Charlie got her a little 25-carat thing. I wonder what size rock she got from ole Vinnie Barbarino. They started dating when Travolta was shooting one of our favorite movies around here, "Look Who's Talking Too" -- right there you can see why she found him so appealing. Anyhow, it's Christmas, and any minute I'm gonna hear about a good party, so I'll keep the phone lines clear as we continue with "Twins," after the ads.
[fading] Notice how I didn't even mention that they're Scientologists. Their religion is their own business. Especially if they're having people over tonight. Guys, I'm in the book. Gimme a ring. That L. Ron Hubbard -- boy, he could write the page-turners, couldn't he? What a master storyteller.
"TWINS" Commercial Break #3
You know, I'm not saying this movie isn't memorable, but I saw it when it came out in 88, and I feel like I'm watching it for the first time all over again. Anyhow, it's Christmas night, and I believe Rusty the TNT Mail Girl is coming by -- [enters] Here she is now. I guess you've been saving all my Christmas cards for tonight, huh, Rusty? So you could bring em all in one-fell-swoop?
RUSTY: Um, yeah, that's it. Here they are. [giving him one letter]
This is it?
This is obviously a mistake. Did you give the post office my change of address form?
RUSTY: Yeah, right when you moved out here. You been getting your other mail, haven't you?
Just one lousy card?
RUSTY: It's from Tracy Brandon and Tom Reier of Santa Rosa, California.
It's not even a card, it's a letter.
"We at our house have been Joe Bob fans for years! We saw your stand-up act many years ago and enjoyed your columns in the S.F. Chronicle before the pinheads pulled you. Also we enjoyed you as the dumb hick in the gangsta movie and your other bit parts (The Stand, etc.). I am a fat, feminist, monogamous woman and I love you. My man loves you just as much! We try to hang with you on the movies but we end up moving around and catching your every word and skipping the movies. I was shattered to find that your ego had to come out of the closet as John Bloom on the Daily Show - but I got over it. I just really wanted Joe Bob to be real. But I'm dealing with it!"
What's she talking about? Who's John Bloom?
RUSTY: I don't know.
Probly the guy who's been getting my Christmas cards.
"Several years ago, a friend of ours gave us the cardboard you from a video store. Your presence greets everyone who passes through our front door as you recline in our entryway. Last year, we made you (willing or not) into part of our bizarre X-mas scene. The picture is horrible, but it will give you an idea of how your likeness is being treated. Our X-mas tree is usually decorated with chile pepper lights and a Beavis head for our angel. We'd love to have you over for a beer - put us on your list!
"XXOO your fans,
"Tracy Brandon and Tom Reier, Santa Rosa, California."
I can't believe they have that standee in their house! Can you guys get a shot of this? You can barely see me through the front window. I'd love a beer, guys, but don't ask me unless you mean it, cause I'm liable to show up. In fact, how long would it take to drive to Santa Rosa?
RUSTY: I think about seven hours.
RUSTY: Wait, I have something I want to give you.
Why don't you hang out with me till the next break and give it to me then.
RUSTY: Well, I kinda have to be somewhere.
I'll go with you.
RUSTY: I'll hang out.
"TWINS" Commercial Break #4
[return address stickers, wallet]
Hey, Rusty, did you read that report in "USA Today" about women who were asked if they'd prefer a guy who looks like Danny DeVito and does half the household chores, or a guy who looks like Robert Redford and does no chores?
RUSTY: No, but I bet you did.
Forty-three percent chose Danny DeVito -- only three percent less than the ones who picked Redford.
RUSTY: You know who I'd pick?
Who would you pick?
RUSTY: A guy who looks like Robert Redford AND does half the chores. Doesn't exist.
RUSTY: I'm just kidding. How bout a guy who looks like Danny DeVito and does ALL the chores?
Didn't you say you had something for me?
RUSTY: Yes, I do. [gives him labels]
Return address stickers.
RUSTY: They're a free gift from the Children's Hospital of Southern California.
RUSTY: If you WANT to give them some money, you can, but you don't have to.
This is your Christmas present to me? Asking me for money?
RUSTY: You don't have to pay anything. You can just use the labels. But then they won't be able to buy Christmas gifts for the children.
[gets out wallet, gives her money] Oh, jeez. You're good at this, you know that?
RUSTY: Thanks. [heads for door]
Where you goin?
RUSTY: Oh, I got invited to this party up the hill.
The one at Heather Graham's?
RUSTY: No, no, it's just . . . it's at Kevin Costner's. Bye! [exits]
Bye. Like I'd go to Kevin Costner's Christmas party. Please. I wonder what the security situation is there.
"TWINS" Commercial Break #5
You can't go wrong with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito waltzing arm-in-arm, can you? This flick was directed by Ivan Reitman, famous for his big teeth. Also famous for directing a whole bevy of mega-box office comedies: "Meatballs," "Stripes," "Ghostbusters," "Dave," "Kindergarten Cop," "Junior." I think that may be the first time I ever used "bevy" in a sentence. That's the kind of word those old toothless guys at the state fair burlesque shows used: "a bevy of bountiful beauties -- nothing here for the kiddies." Anyhow, you can see how at one point Ivan Reitman switched over from Bill Murray to Arnold Schwarzenegger. He HAS done a couple a lame pictures --"Six Days, Seven Nights" definitely fits that bill -- but basically the guy does solid, unpretentious flicks with plenty of car chases. The critics lambasted him on "Twins," but people went to see it anyway. All right, I'm getting hungry waitin for the party invitations to roll in. The good parties don't get started till late, you know. [picks up phone, listens] Huh, guess it's working. Let's see, where I can get a good old-fashioned turkey Christmas dinner? [dials 411] Commercials, and then back to the movie.
[fading] Yeah, in Hollywood, the number for KFC? Is there such a thing as Kentucky Fried Turkey? I think so.
"TWINS" Commercial Break #6
[KFC turkey dinner]
You don't really watch "Twins" for the sex scenes, do you? This is obviously the part where it drags in the middle. But isn't Kelly Preston the little horny-toad in this flick? Course, we all remember the first line she utters in "Jerry Maguire," don't we? Tom Cruise has her up against a wall, if you know what I mean and I think you do, and she screams out -- well, I can't tell you what she screams out, cause this is a family show. All right, this is starting to get a LITTLE depressing. It's Christmas, and even my usual Saturday afternoon appointment was cancelled because someone is recovering from a little reconstructive touch-up. [Muffin stares at him] What are you looking at? Back to the flick, after the ads.
[fading] All right, fine, have some turkey. I think it's turkey. You tell me.
"TWINS" Commercial Break #7
Lots of MONTAGES in this flick. Bad sign when you go montage-crazy. The writers were REALLY lazy on that one, the "Going to Houston" montage. And Chloe Webb, from "Sid and Nancy" and "China Beach," tells Arnold about the thing in the trunk so Arnold can steal a cowboy hat and do some cutesy fish-out-of-water stuff. People love when Arnold does cutesy fish-out-of-water stuff. All right, enough is enough. I'm gonna find something to do. It's Christmas for Pete's sake. [dialing phone] I'm calling my friend Tito over at Hollywood Star Lanes. Tito, my man, what's shakin? . . . No, I'm not doing Baretta -- you're a laugh riot, you know that? What's happening there at the lanes tonight? Any pick-up games that need an extra guy? . . . How about Jim, the one with the missing thumb. He always needs a partner, doesn't he? . . . Private party? Titooooo -- it's a BOWLING ALLEY! . . . Look, you don't have to let me in for free. You don't even need to let me bowl. . . Fine! You know what, Tito? Don't call me next time you're at the video store and you can't decide what to rent okay? Do YOU know the complete works of Shannen Doherty? I DON'T THINK SO! [slams down phone] I hate Christmas. Next year I'm doing Kwanzaa only.
"TWINS" Commercial Break #8
Okay, two questions. Did they really leave that line in? Did he say "Now there's a man with a lot on his mind"? They said that, didn't they? And was that the action part of the script? I thought we were gonna get some serious running around with automatic weapons. But what we got was Danny DeVito with some kinda genetic ESP, and a guy buried under endless amounts of chains, which he doesn't notice even though Danny and Arnold stare up at it like twenty times before they pull the lever and make it fall on him. Anyhoo, it's Christmas, and here I am all alone as usual. At least last year I had the foresight to pay some gals to come by and eat with me.
SUMMER: [enters] Knock knock!
Thank you, God.
SUMMER: [grabbing dog] I'm just taking her out for a quick piddle. I'm SO late! [exits in a flurry]
She'll be back. She'll know about something fun to do. Summer knows everybody. We'll just watch the end of "Twins." And there's always the back-up plan: "Rocky IV." Right?
[fading] Chicks LOVE "Rocky IV." Right? It's Christmas, and I'm watching "Rocky IV." Alone. Even the dog left. Not that I like the dog. Didn't get me a gift. Course, I didn't get a gift for the dog, either. But it takes two to tango, goldang it.
Three and half stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.